Family Law is truly the black eye of America. It is a system created by lawyers to leverage domestic disputes for their advantage. There is no one to hold the judge accountable for the judgments. If both sides have lawyers or attorneys, they will consume all marital assets. Their tactics, rhetoric and treatment requires a gas mask. If you go pro se while the other person is abusive in nature, that person will use up almost all marital assets. No matter what is done, if the relationship ends because one person is abusive and that person has enough funds to hire an attorney – that person will get their way no matter what. When one person will not compromise and it is the same person that has filed and/or paid the most money while the other person is responsible by not spending beyond their means, one mistake going pro se will ALWAYS benefit the other person if there is no criminal record or criminal activity.
It is uncertain if things would be different if attorney representation was equal on both sides for my case.
Having an attorney secured financial support in my situation; however, that same attorney allowed the judge to impute income and administer below guideline child support. Going pro se, the financial support may have been even less. Shocked?! It does not faze me anymore.
The only benefit of my current situation is that the abuser is in no way going to be awarded the marital home.
Through all this utter turmoil experienced, there is a silver lining. There is no way that I will be forced to live under the same roof as the abuser. Usually the abuser does not file for divorce, in my case the abuser did. The abuser likes to maintain control and control is impossible without the victim under their watch usually; however, in my case, the abuser was a white-collar male who feared going to jail, because I would not turn a blind eye to his actions behind closed doors. One time the abuser said to me, if you do not send out the Christmas cards, I will divorce you. The following year he filed for divorce, but it was not over Christmas cards.
Hindsight is 20/20. As a person who witnessed abuse and was subject to the abuse myself, videotaping the incidents would have been better than confronting the abuser hoping that the guilt would lead to changed behavior. Confronting the abuser increased tension and pushed the abuser away preventing any real evidence collection while under the same roof.
Here’s the epiphany, someone who abuses another person either blames the victim or pardons their own guilt as justified.
An abuser cannot change. They cannot change by extrinsic motivation or intrinsic motivation. They will repeat the same mistakes, rituals and behavior in other relationships. Some lessons are learned the hard way. Do not learn the hard way like me. If there is no abuse in your relationship go through mediation. If there is no abuse in your relationship and you hire an attorney, by the end of it you will have a list of abusive interactions to add to the broken relationship as well. Avoid going to court by filing for divorce first before your spouse (if divorce is truly your only option and your spouse is unpredictable). Filing for divorce is one serious advantage of being the petitioner (see Divorce Strategy, Petitioner or Respondent).
If you are the respondent, convince the divorce filing spouse to seek mediation. If you wait too long, the court attorney toxic gas will have already infiltrated all orifices of your spouse and there’s no way of reversing the contamination.